Crossfit coach and firefighter Matthew McDaniels image

Back to Nutritional Basics with Matthew McDaniels


Matthew McDaniels became fascinated with bodybuilding at a young age when he encountered his father’s copy of  The Ironman's Guide to the Complete Home Gym. He remembers getting an idea in his head that he wanted to be a big, strong guy from those photos. When he was thirteen, he learned about functional training for the first time. He did bodyweight-only workouts for a while after learning about some of the limitations and drawbacks to bodybuilding. Later, he ordered a Russian kettlebell starter kit and realized that a blend of strength and conditioning would be beneficial to him. This was the methodology he depended on until his late teens. In his late teens, he discovered CrossFit and has never looked back.


Matthew discusses why he loves CrossFit and it’s the only organized fitness methodology he has ever followed. He reflects on how CrossFit can help stave off the nursing home and helps him to stay active with his three young children. He wants to train in a way that is not just achieving a short-term goal but setting him up for a long, healthy life. CrossFit defines fitness as increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains. 

Matthew has seen CrossFit change lives. One person he coached, along with AA, came out of alcohol addiction through CrossFit. It has been a privilege for Matthew to see this athlete choose CrossFit as her new hobby to focus on. Other clients have said they were able to get off their anti-depression medications, with the supervision of their doctors, in part due to their participation in CrossFit. CrossFit also provides a positive community.

Matthew shares what he has noticed about fad diets. They focus back on the basics. Getting back to basics works every time. Consistency matters when it comes to nutrition. You need to be able to eat that way 80% of the time for a very long time. People will often try to take on too much too soon. Matthew advises listeners to eat more vegetables. Make more of your meals at home with ingredients you purchased from around the outside of the grocery store. Ask if your meals come mostly from the perimeter of the grocery store or within the center aisles. Would somebody 1,000 years ago recognized what you are eating as food? Matthew also recommends tracking and tabulating what kinds of foods you are eating.

Matthew tells us that with nutrition, knowing is 80-90% of the battle. Any food you eat is going to break down into a carbohydrate, fat, or a protein. As measured in the calories you consume, you want a rough balance. Some people do a little bit better with more carbohydrates proportionally, or more fat, etc. Nobody does well with 80% of one kind of macronutrient.You don't necessarily have to have a tracking app for the rest of your life or have a food scale on your counter. Eat just enough but not too much quality food from a rough balance of all three macronutrient sources of whole foods that you shop for from around the outside of the grocery store.

Near the end of the episode, Matthew shares about his side business as a public insurance claims adjuster with Paradise Claims. You can also learn how to reach out to him with questions.

3 Key Points:

  1.   CrossFit can provide a healthy way to train that can help you achieve long-term fitness goals.
  2.   When you’re working on improving your nutrition, get back to the basics.
  3.   As you shop, ask if your meals come mostly from the perimeter of the grocery store or within the center aisles.

Tweetable Quotes:

  • “CrossFit is the only organized methodology that I've ever followed.” – Matthew McDaniel
  • “Back to the basics works every time.” – Matthew McDaniel
  • “With nutrition, knowing is more like 80-90% of the battle." – Matthew McDaniel
  • “Finding a system that allows you to stay in that 80% zone but for a long time consistently will bring those long-term successes and those results.” – Matthew McDaniel
  • “Eat just enough but not too much quality food from a rough balance of all three macro-nutrient sources of whole foods that you shop from around the outside of the grocery store.” – Matthew McDaniel

Resources Mentioned:


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